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Streets won’t be repaved until water project is done

BUCKEYE LAKE – Buckeye Lake Village won’t repave its streets until public waterlines, which are currently being installed around the village, are pressure tested at the end of the project. So, it’s up to the contractor to ensure that the village streets are passable as work progresses.

“There is no intention to pave until after the contractor has tested the system, which should be next late spring or early summer,” said Buckeye Lake Mayor Frank Foster.

Until that time the contractor, Stillion Brothers Excavating, is responsible for keeping the roads in good condition for driving. As needed, the contractor will add gravel to low areas, he said. Foster said village officials intend to apply for Ohio Public Works Commission funds to assist in paying for the paving. He said project engineer ME Companies is determining the village’s paving needs, the Buckeye Lake Village Service Committee is prioritizing the streets, “so that if there is inadequate money to pave every street we can address the worst ones first,” said Foster.

The OPWC applications for funding are due in late September or early October. Monday night, Foster told the village council that repaving all the streets could cost approximately $1 million. Some of the paving will be the state and Licking County’s responsibility, such as Ohio 79, but the village will have its fair share.

Director of Development Valerie Hans said it’s advantageous to wait to repave the streets, anyway, until the backfill dirt placed into the open ditches settles. If the roads are paved too early, she said, the new asphalt is bound to crack as the fill beneath it sinks.

Foster said the water project is running slightly ahead of schedule. He added the village is not yet ready to establish official water rates. “Any water rate discussion right now would still be based upon budgeted amounts and we are so early in the construction process that there is a possibility for increased (construction) costs,” said Foster. “I would prefer that we hold off that discussion for several more months until we are more comfortable that the construction costs will be as expected.”

He was willing to say, however, that due in large part to the $5 million federal stimulus funds the village received toward the project, customers will see a significantly lower water bill than initially projected.

“When we do have that discussion and set the rates we want to make sure they are as accurate as possible,” said Foster.

In other village news:

• The Buckeye Lake Community Action Committee is using ODOT Gateway program funding to create a new entrance way to the village at the north end of Ohio 79 immediately east of the McDonald’s. Committee Chair Annetta Macedonia told council the entrance way would include flower beds and mulching, a nautically themed welcome sign, and a flagpole displaying the American and Ohio flags, and a Buckeye Lake flag, which is yet to be designed. Macedonia expects there will be contest for the best design for a Buckeye Lake flag.

According to ODOT’s web site, the Gateway program provides funding for the purchase of trees, shrubs, mulch, soil amendments and other landscaping materials to establish corridor enhancements along state highway rights-of-way. Plants and landscaping materials are the only eligible costs funded by the program. Labor, equipment rental, landscape design cost, and other maintenance costs will not be funded. Local governments must agree to provide litter removal, landscaping installation and maintenance, and general aesthetic improvements to the state highway right-of-way.

Macedonia told council her committee will raise donations to cover any expenses that ODOT won’t. “We fully intend to generate those funds on our own,” she said. Macedonia hopes the first planting will be in October.

• Foster said the village is doing everything it can to help construction begin on a new Petplex facility, which is working through a zoning issue. “The village has acted as quickly as we possibly can,” he said, adding that the location of the new facility’s driveway is the only issue delaying construction. The new facility will be located on Ohio 79, across from the Buckeye Lake Estates. Foster explained that the Petplex design must also adhere to Licking County zoning requirements.

It’s important to note that construction projects very commonly require several zoning variances during the design process.

Tuesday, Licking County Planning Commission Planning Manager Brad Mercer provided a detailed explanation of the Petplex project’s status. He said Doug Poorman, who owns the veterinary facility, is currently proceeding with the development review in accordance with the Subdivision Regulations, Land Division Regulations, Congestion Prevention Regulations, and Thoroughfare Plan Addendum for the Village of Buckeye Lake, Ohio. Additionally, said Mercer, Poorman is seeking compliance with the Special Purpose Flood Damage Reduction Ordinance for Buckeye Lake, Ohio.

Mercer explained that the Village of Buckeye Lake entered into an agreement with the Licking County Planning Commission for the LCPC to act as the staff for the Village of Buckeye Lake regarding subdivision and floodplain regulations. “As staff we have provided the developer with a list of regulations the proposed development does not comply with,” said Mercer. “At this time (Poorman) is seeking a variance from several regulatory requirements.”

Once the Village of Buckeye Lake Appeals Board considers and acts upon the variance applications, (Poorman) will submit revised plans addressing the regulations that the development does not comply with, along with any conditions of the variance should they be approved. Once this is resubmitted to LCPC staff, county planning will send a letter to the village stating whether or not the proposed development is in compliance with applicable regulations. If it is compliant, the village may then issue a Major Development Permit and the developer can move forward with construction.

To date, said Mercer, the Village of Buckeye Lake Appeals Board has rendered a decision on five of the six variance applications Poorman requested. The sixth application, which addresses access to Ohio 79, is currently tabled pending further review and discussion between all parties involved. To date, the applicant has been presented with information and to Mercer’s knowledge the village is waiting for Poorman to decide if he wishes to proceed with the variance application currently tabled or to withdraw this application and submit another access proposal variance application.

Mercer said he didn’t know when construction could begin.

• Hans said the village should replace 32 American flags that adorn Buckeye Lake during holidays. She said she’s looking into possible grants to help pay for the flags and Buckeye Lake VFW Post 1388 representatives said they may be able to help purchase some flags if the vill age is unable to locate adequate grants.

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